Tips and Tricks: Search Hotel Prices Early and Often

This oldie-but-goodie tip is born of experience. And given that we are heading into the summer travel season, it bore repeating and I had to pass it along. Last year, two times that I have had a hotel to book, I searched early and found some reasonable deals. I booked through the hotel’s website directly and waited patiently.

A couple of weeks before I was scheduled to check in, I started to check the websites again. I checked Trivago, Kayak and the hotel websites. Still no change, so I waited. Same thing occurred the week before.

Then, I caught a break. The day before my scheduled check-ins, the prices changed. In one instance, the price dropped $50 for the night. I quickly booked that rate and then (after getting the confirmation), I cancelled the other reservation.

The other savings instance the offer was a bit different. The rate was the same but included in the same rate was a $50 food and beverage credit. This was perfect because I had planned to spend a quiet evening by the hotel pool and grab a bite of room service. I immediately called the hotel front desk (not the main reservations line they always want to connect you with), and told them about the new credit. I didn’t even have to cancel my rate; they just added the credit on to my account.

Something similar happened a few years ago when I was booking a hotel before and after a cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. When I originally booked, there were no points rates available, but a week or two before the cruise, there was a points option that would have allowed a small number of points plus only $60 a night. Score.

So the moral of the story is check early and late. As hotels get closer to the dates and realize they have a number of vacancies, a lot of times you can score a sweet deal or some added perks to lessen your bottom line.

And always remember to look for special rates. If you have AAA, most hotels throw in additional discounts. That’s how I got the $50 food and beverage credit: it was on a AAA deal. Other special rates include those for senior citizens, veterans, and even residents of certain states. Starwood properties, for example, often offer special rates for in-state residents.

For more tips and tricks on how to get the best travel deals, sign up for the BarrisTourista and get a 5-Page Travel Deals Mini Guide with ways to scoop up great deals!


I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

40 comments on “Tips and Tricks: Search Hotel Prices Early and Often”

  1. These are all right on the money! I used to work as a reservationist for a 5-star boutique hotel— sometimes the best rates were gotten through calling us directly. I’ve blocked people into specific rooms and added extras to people’s reservations, just as a result of them calling and having a positive conversation!

  2. This are great tips that I try to be mindful of those few times I book a hotel (Oddly I only book this kind of lodging for business now, and Air BnB for leisure).

    1. Rena, yes! I hate that. I post new tips every Thursday so be sure to come back and also check old tips in the Tyra’s Travel Tips category (and sign up for a travel deals cheatsheet for FREE 🙂

    1. Thanks Jenn. Check out the blog every Thursday in the Tyra’s Tips and Tricks category. I am all about traveling well but for great prices! And if you sign up, you get a bonus Travel Deals Cheatsheet to score amazing deals!

  3. I hadn’t thought of checking back after making the reservation. I always book our hotel rooms online and do my best to price shop. I’ll try this the next time we go away!

  4. We went away last weekend for a football game. My hubby kept checking the sites until the week before to try and get a better deal. Sadly we didn’t 🙁 everything was booked up because of the game, but I agree to keep checking back. You never know when something better will pop up

    1. Savannah, yeah surrounding footballs (especially with it being homecoming season) is always tough. But always check… it could be something like a food credit. And use AAA rates if you have it!

    1. Thanks, Dina! Every Thursday, I post a new tip and trick so check out the “Tyra’s Travel Tips” category. And if you sign up, you get a bonus Travel Deals Cheat Sheet to use to get great deals!

  5. Thanks for the great tips. I did not know that here were different rates depending on the time you book. I will keep this handy and share it with my brother whose work always has him traveling.

  6. Great tips! We don’t travel or stay elsewhere often as our kiddos are still a bit young but I look forward to traveling more, and stays away from home as they get older!

  7. A friend of mine gave me the same advice the other day, she ran into the same kind of drama when booking flights for a daughters bday party in Las Vegas…

  8. Two great tips just in the title! Searching way before your trip is a good way to make sure you are going to get the best price you can. You can even check for when some of them do discounts and such and go then.

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